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Radio 4 - Gotham

  by Jonjo McNeill

published: 14 / 11 / 2002

Radio 4 - Gotham
Label: City Slang
Format: CD


Riveting " funk-punk masterpiece" from much under-rated New York-based band, Radio 4

In the current musical climate, it seems all a band needs to gain instant credibility is a birth certificate reading 'New York' as the place of birth. The NME's constant hyping and drooling has seen to that. But before the hype of summer 2001 and The St**kes came along, there was a little band called Radio 4, who spliced dance beats with punk attitude and funky guitars. And here they return with their second LP - the funk-punk masterpiece that is 'Gotham!' Opening with the blinding 'Our Town', with its Stranglers-esque bassline, its Joe Strummer through a cheese grater vocal sound, and the fucked up guitar sound (it sounds like a modem connecting - but in tune!), it gives a pretty good idea what the listener has let themselves in for. Mixing politics, attitude and the will for a good time, Radio 4's lyrical themes vary from the Mayor of NYC banning dancing in public, through to media debate on AIDS and saving your local arts community. All the lyrics are perfectly delivered by the snarling punk voice of bassist and singer Anthony Roman, a central figure on the New York 'scene'. Sounding like a messed up hybrid of Iggy Pop, Joe Strummer and Bobby Gillespie, Roman's belief in the issues he's singing about are clearly the burning heart behind this record. 'Gotham!' is a dance / rock album in the finest tradition. At various points it sounds like Primal Scream's 'Screamadelica' and 'Vanishing Point', Daft Punk's 'Discovery', UNKLE's 'Psyence Fiction' and even 'Music Of The Spheres' by Ian Brown. An eclectic mix of influences, and influences Radio 4 are not ashamed to wear on their sleeve. Yet besides having obvious reference points, this album still sounds fresh. It's refreshing to hear a band emerge from a scene currently en vogue that still manages to set themselves apart from the others involved. Whilst they undoubtedly have much in common with the Strokes, the Liars et al, they have a depth of feeling and meaning that their peers' rich daddies could never buy from any store. 'Gotham!' is an album you could dance to, and album you could march to, and an album you could cry to. Every song is dripping in hooks and riffs, every drumbeat is a foot tapper, and every word a call to arms. It will probably remain overlooked in the near future, but will be looked back on as an extremely important record. Punk music has never been so funky!

Track Listing:-
1 Our Town
2 Start A Fire
3 Eyes Wide Open
4 Dance To The Underground
5 Stuggle
6 Calling All Enthusiasts
7 Save Your City
8 Speaking In Codes
9 Certain Tragedy
10 The Movies
11 End Of The Rope
12 Pipe Bombs
13 New Disco

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